TOKYO – Oil prices edged lower on Wednesday on concerns over an unexpected jump in US oil inventories last week, but positive news on COVID-19 vaccines lifted investors hopes for a recovery in fuel demand, capping losses.
Brent crude futures slipped 13 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $48.71 a barrel, having gained 5 cents the previous day. US West Texas Intermediate (WT I) crude futures dropped 15 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $45.45, after shedding 16 cents on Tuesday.
The American Petroleum Institute (API) said on Tuesday that US crude oil, gasoline and distillate stocks rose sharply last week, with crude stocks jumping by 1.14 million barrels, contrary to analyst forecasts in a Reuters poll for a draw of 1.42 million barrels.
Official weekly oil data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) is due on Wednesday.
“The recent rally looks to be overdone from a fundamental point of view, given rising oil output in Libya and the United States with weaker fuel demand across the globe,” said Kazuhiko Saito, chief analyst at Fujitomi Co.